Reviewed by: Lauren Rosier
Despite her young age, 27-year-old singer/songwriter Laura Marling has had a very prolific songwriting career. Her latest record, Semper Femina (Latin for “always a woman”), is her sixth studio record in the past nine years. The record is a darker collection compared to her previous efforts and explores what femininity means, what it isn’t, and where the lines are blurred.
When she began writing this record, it was from a more masculine point-of-view, as she felt very neutral. Written while on tour and recorded in Los Angeles, as you listen to Semper Femina from start to finish, it explores femininity from various vantage points. One may guess that the subject matter for Semper Femina could coincide with her new podcast, Reversal of the Muse with Laura Marling, where she speaks with various females working in different roles within the music industry.
The record opens with the hauntingly dark track, “Soothing,” with Marling warning “…my God is brooding/drawn in shock/across the floor/you made it yours/your private door/to my room…”
The second song, “Wild Fire,” is one of the standout tracks of the record featuring Marling’s beautiful, descriptive songwriting. It’s a beautiful, guitar-driven track about a relationship with a female whose lover asks “...are you trying to make/a cold liar out of me/you wanna get high/you overcome those desires/before you come to me…”
The girl who’s the topic of the song seems to be an aspiring writer who “…keeps a pen behind her ear/in case she got something/she really, really needs to say/she puts it in a notepad/she’s gonna write a book someday…” Marling admits that “…course the only part I want to read/is her time spent with me/would you die/to know how you’re seen/are you getting away with/who you’re trying to be…”
She closes out the record with the stunning “Nothing Not Nearly” where she reminisces about a late September day where a relationship once began. Her songwriting truly shines on this track where she illustrates the progression of a relationship.
Semper Femina is a stunningly beautiful collection of nine songs from different perspectives on femininity. For being only 27-years-old, Marling is able to illustrate femininity in colorful ways through her descriptive songwriting, artistic melodies and arrangements, and beautiful voice. Semper Femina is one of the albums of the year and should be highly praised for her impeccable ability to create such breathtaking music.